The World Health Organization (WHO) designated the Joint Commission as the world's first WHO Collaborating Centre dedicated solely to patient safety. This action is aimed at reducing the unacceptably high numbers of serious medical injuries around the world each day. In 2007, the WHO International Steering Committee for Patient Safety approved nine patient safety solutions:
1. Look-Alike, Sound-Alike Medication Names: Confusing drug names is one of the most common causes of medication errors and is a worldwide concern. With tens of thousands of drugs currently on the market, the potential for error created by confusing brand or generic drug names and packaging is significant.
2. Patient Identification: The widespread and continuing failures to correctly identify patients often leads to medication, transfusion and testing errors; wrong person procedures; and the discharge of infants to the wrong families.
3. Communication During Patient Hand-Overs: Gaps in hand-over (or hand-off) communication between patient care units, and between and among care teams, can cause serious breakdowns in the continuity of care, inappropriate treatment, and potential harm for the patient.
4. Performance of Correct Procedure at Correct Body Site: Considered totally preventable, cases of wrong procedure or wrong site surgery are largely the result of miscommunication and unavailable, or incorrect, information. A major contributing factor to these types of errors is the lack of a standardized preoperative process.
5. Control of Concentrated Electrolyte Solutions: While all drugs, biologics, vaccines and contrast media have a defined risk profile, concentrated electrolyte solutions that are used for injection are especially dangerous.
6. Assuring Medication Accuracy at Transitions in Care: Medication errors occur most commonly at transitions. Medication reconciliation is a process designed to prevent medication errors at patient transition points.
7. Avoiding Catheter and Tubing Mis-Connections: The design of tubing, catheters, and syringes currently in use is such that it is possible to inadvertently cause patient harm through connecting the wrong syringes and tubing and then delivering medication or fluids through an unintended wrong route.
8. Single Use of Injection Devices: One of the biggest global concerns is the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) because of the reuse of injection needles.
9. Improved Hand Hygiene to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infection: It is estimated that at any point in time more than 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from infections acquired in hospitals. Effective hand hygiene is the primary preventive measure for avoiding this problem.
The Patient Safety Solutions web site features short explanations of each solution, including the evidence for the problem, suggested actions to prevent it, potential barriers, and opportunities for patient and family involvement. The Patient Safety Solutions have been translated to Arabic, Chinese, German, and Spanish.